Your utilitarian 4×4, be it a Land Rover Defender, Mercedes G Wagen, or this itty-bitty Suzuki Jimny, must not only be great off-road and tough enough to stand up to the sort of abuses it is likely to encounter on a farm or a rutted track, but it must also be something akin to a fashion icon, according to today’s car buyers. In a nutshell, it needs to be a good-looking and functional item for the daily commute to and from school.


The 2018 Jimny is the fourth generation of the vehicle, and it continues the tradition of its predecessors by being very capable off-road, cheap to buy and maintain, and, perhaps most importantly given its roots as a kei car in Japan, where vehicles are taxed based on their size, compact. In a crucial way, it has a wonderful aesthetic. Sweet. Where aesthetics are crucial to success.

The previous generation was on the market for 20 years; for the new one to achieve the same longevity, it must maintain the same sense of ease of use and perfection in all other respects. Thus, the Jimny only comes with one engine choice, a 100-horsepower 1.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline unit. All four wheels receive power from the five-speed manual transmission or the four-speed automatic that was an option from the factory. The low-range gearing is mechanically changeable between 2WD-high, 4WD-low, and 4WD-high.

Only two options exist for trim. Even the base SZ4 model comes standard with features like air conditioning, cruise control, power front windows, automatic headlights, and four-wheel drive. Alloy wheels, LED headlights, climate control, heated front seats, a leather steering wheel, and a touchscreen infotainment system are all available as part of the SZ5 package.

Keep in mind that the Jimny is primarily an off-road device before doing anything else on the road. Not ideal for use on Tarmac. The 1.5-liter engine is extremely loud and crude, and it requires constant effort. There is a lot of effort put into shifting gears but little forward movement because of the gearchange’s stiffness and the overall shortness of the gearing. There is a lot of noise from the road and the wind.

The low-geared steering allows for plenty of wheel-twirling, and the vehicle has poor cornering stability, leaning noticeably in every sharp turn. Nonetheless, it has a poor ride quality and causes significant body movement over bumps and potholes.

But, the Jimny shines when driven off-road, with the ability to climb steep inclines over uneven terrain while keeping all four wheels firmly planted.

Because of its compact length, the Jimny can ascend and descend steep slopes with ease. To compensate for the lack of locking differentials, the electronic traction control system applies the brakes to the offending wheel, allowing the vehicle to continue forward momentum. The more extreme the off-roading, the more practical the Jimny becomes.

The interior is basic, and the steering wheel may be adjusted only in height, not reach. The seat won’t recline far enough for drivers who are taller than average. Nonetheless, visibility is fine. There are a lot of hard plastics on exhibit, giving the impression that the inside is made of cheap materials but is actually quite lightweight and basic. There’s not a lot of room, either. There is plenty of space for the driver and front passenger, but the back two seats will be tight. With the two rear passengers seated, there is also very limited cargo space, although the seats can be folded down to create a makeshift boot suitable for a few bags of groceries.

Unfortunately, the Jimny was discontinued in 2020 because to pollution laws.

You can find a wide variety of used cars, including the Jimny and other vehicles discussed here, on the Used Vehicle Purchasing section.



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